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The 2024 BNOC List

Here it is! After three weeks of voting, the results are in. With slight adjustments made according to which BNOCs gave consent to be on the list and the addition of some whose fame strictly speaking surpasses that of BNOC-hood, the list is true to those initial nominations.

There are some veteran BNOCs on the list, and some new BNOC faces. Like with celebrities in the public eye, it seems that many BNOCs on the list are known just for being BNOCS, regardless of their other engagements. Many have been involved with the Oxford Union, which is, of course, a breeding ground for BNOC stars. More interesting are the nominations which come from outside of the Union-SU-student-journalism bubble, and whom it has taken some effort to research.

It is tempting to wonder what effect BNOC-hood has on a student’s post-Oxford prospects. Classic examples of previous BNOCs (Johnson, Cameron, Gove etc.) suggest that they might enjoy a messy period of favour- able limelight, but will ultimately be condemned to involvement in large scale political ‘fuck-ups’ that fore- ground their self-obsessive characters. We wish this year’s BNOCs well, and hope that they heed the destinies of those that went before them.

– Rufus Hall (Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Features)

  1. Shermar Pyrce (Third Year, Univ)
    Ex-President of Univ JCR, Shermar is known for embracing Union life after his failed SU campaign. He said: “Here for at least another year – watch this space.”
  1. Chloe Pomfret (First Year, St Catz)
    Self-described as “St Catz’s public enemy no. 1”, Chloe has surpassed BNOC fame with features in nationals exposing the gross injustice that is the price of Pembroke ball tickets.
  1. Danial Hussain (Third Year, LMH)
    As SU President, Danial recently co-authored the much praised College Disparities Report. Afraid we’d feature in the Times, we thought number 3 was a safe bet.
  1. Julia Maranhao Wong (Second Year, St Anne’s)
    Oxford’s American ‘It’ girl (self-proclaimed), when you say Oxford Union, we hear Julia Maranhao-Wong. Also, her Facebook friends list is probably longer than yours.
  1. James Mackenzie (First Year, St Hilda’s)
    Puffer man, red puffer man, puffer red man, James has probably hacked you or you may have seen him in his BRIGHT RED PUFFER.
Image Credit: Oxford Union
  1. ‘Oliver’s Oxford’ (Postgraduate, TikTok)
    Oliver represents Oxford (no way!) to the doom-scrolling masses and is known for bringing other students their five seconds of fame.
  1. Leo Buckley (Third Year, Trinity)
    After an interesting career at the Union, we hope Leo is now living peacefully in his houseboat on the Thames.
  1. Addi Haran (Postgraduate, Lincoln)
    Addi is the former LGBTQ+ Society President, and will be Oxford SU President going into the transformation period.
  1. Benedict Masters (First Year, New)
    It’s a mystery why Ben is a BNOC, yet his fresher-omnipresence is the stuff of legend. He explained with a riddle: “On the race to the bottom I came out on top.” What is in my pocket?
  1. Hannah Edwards (Third Year, Lincoln)
    Known for sitting in a big chair (former Union President), Hannah enjoys arguing with people (competitive debating), but thinks her real talents lie in solving puzzles.
  1. Ella Bolland (Second Year, Trinity)
    Trinity Entz Rep and “loud American”, Ella’s fans admire her commitment to the Park End graft. She said: “People say what I lack in height I make up for in volume.”
  1. Reuben Constantine (Second Year, St Peter’s)
    Starboy of ‘Oliver’s Oxford’, Reuben’s multilingual charm has everyone after him, despite the flop that was his brief attempt at the SU presidency.
  1. Emma Watson (Postgraduate, LMH)
    She’s Emma Watson.
Image credit: Themeplus / CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr
  1. Yashas Ramakrishnan (First Year, Balliol)
    Yashas has reached BNOC-stardom through his commitment to History Soc and his Balliol bar doormanship.
  1. Hugo Roma Wilson (Second Year, Trinity)
    OUCA president and in charge of controlling the rabble rousers, Hugo also flirts with the Union (and the Editors, when OUCA misbehaves).
  1. Bintia Dennog (Second Year, Lincoln)
    The Editor we all aspire to be (and the only student journalist deserving of their place on this list), Binti is now having a more relaxed time as German Society’s treasurer.
  1. Leo Brnicanin (Third Year, St Hugh’s)
    The Oxide Radio guy. Leo relentlessly promotes the University’s student radio on Oxfess and elsewhere.
  1. Aaron McIntyre (Second Year, Magdalen)
    Former OULC Co-Chair, Magdalen JCR President, and Symphonic Band President, there isn’t a committee worth being on if Aaron isn’t there.
  1. Joe Thompson (Second Year, New)
    Originally describing himself to us as an “overzealous finance bro networker,” Joe would like to add that you’ve probably also seen him on Oxfess.
  1. Anita Okunde (Second Year, Magdalen)
    Treasurer-elect of the Union and Oxford ACS VP. In the words of her Instagram bio, she’ll be found “either working towards social change or taking cool photos”.
  1. Holly Toombs (First Year, Worcester)
    Holly runs “a network of group chats, that were used by 2400+ offer holders over the past two years”, meaning she’s culpable for bringing together two generations of potential Union hacks.
  1. Bee Barnett (First Year, St Hilda’s)
    Bee is Oxford’s resident fashion influencer, with over 600k followers on TikTok – and, as a result, is arguably more famous than anyone else on this list (bar Emma Watson).
  1. Matty Brown (Second Year, Univ)
    In his own words, Matty is “OUCA President-Elect and leader of the #FreeMattyBrown Campaign”. The Editors aren’t entirely sure what that is.
  1. Izzy Horrocks-Taylor (Second Year, Balliol)
    The Oxford Union’s very own “Barbie” (Izzy’s words, not ours), she is best known for shooting her shot as Balliol’s Netball Captain.
  1. Peter Chen (Second Year, Brasenose)
    As legal counsel for OSPL, you’ll see Peter running between choir rehearsals and Oxford county courtroom, keeping the copyright feds off Cherwell’s back time and again.
  1. Rachel Haddad (First Year, Balliol)
    Rachel is this term’s Union Secretary. Reaching such heights as a fresher, she’s a safe bet for the 2025 BNOC list.
  1. Lukas Seifert (Third Year, Christ Church)
    Having finally left the Union, Lukas runs Oxford’s biggest podcast: LOAF. He’s the only undergrad from Malta (he thinks) and his hobbies include, as he writes, “sending it”.
  1. Ushika Kidd (Second Year, Keble)
    As Ushika would say: “only here because I’m a serial over-committer… Usually found yapping about the climate or badminton, or both.”
  1. Oli and Adam (Second Year, Somerville and Keble)
    In Rufus’s words: “Our very own Starmer and Reeves, this iron-fisted duo has succeeded in their campaign to modernise Cherwell and put it back in the service of Oxford students”.
  1. Martin and Gaspard (Second Year, St Catz and St Anne’s)
    As per usual, the OxStu Editors-in-Chief mark the end of this list. Perhaps one day they will finally be able to break away from minor BNOC obscurity.

Notes from the Editors’

Rufus Hall

Writing in the OxStu, Kesaia Toganivalu once said that there are six types of BNOC: the “InDenial BNOC”, the “politico” BNOC, the “hack” BNOC, the “toff” BNOC, the “GNOC” (BNOC in the LG- BTQ+ scene) and the ‘mystery’ BNOC. It is surely the mark of a good BNOC list that it is representative of these different BNOC sorts. How did our BNOC list fair?

Adam Saxon

Halfway through assembling this list, I referred to the Union term card (you know the one none of us ever really read through) as the “bible of the BNOC list”. It’s true – and, in fairness, the hacks included on this list are some of the most well-known people in Oxford. However, if you delve deeper between the lines, there are a number of people on this list who are known for their contributions to a wide range of non-political aspects of the University. It truly was hard cutting it down to thirty. With over 2,100 names on the form, there are so many people who could have made it – and if you didn’t: take it as inspiration to come back and make your mark next year.

Oliver Sandall

We both really value the BNOC list. Thus, we decided to include only 30 names this year to make sure we end up in the top 30. Indeed, having recently visited the Union as esteemed guests (or so we’d like to think), we feel it’s only right to put ourselves among those who value their self-worth off a trivial list.

In any case, there are a couple of things to note. Shermar – your message asking me to go for a pint (which I declined on grounds of being “busy”) did not influence this democratic process. Hannah – please rusticate once more and apply to be a Puzzles section editor. Oliver – you’re welcome for that viral video. Leo – apologies for not taking you on at Cherwell; your houseboat would have been great for socials.

It’s been a pleasure to help organise and curate this year’s BNOC list – and I hope you like the design. Thank you to Rufus for his hilarious comments throughout and also for his general wisdom. This has been great fun – cheers.

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